Josie batters north; storm signals raised
A boy catches water droplets in a flooded barangay in Navotas. Heavy rains brought on by a tropical storm continue to bring floods in Metro Manila.

Josie batters north; storm signals raised

Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - July 22, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Inday out, Josie in.

Tropical Depression Josie has slightly intensified and is currently threatening the Ilocos provinces, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday.

Josie developed from a low-pressure area off Ilocos region to a tropical depression yesterday shortly after Tropical Storm Inday went out of the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR).

At 4 p.m. yesterday, the center of the new storm was estimated at 55 kilometers west of Laoag City.

With maximum winds of up to 55 kilometers per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 65 kph, Josie is said to be moving east southeast at 25 kph, further hastening the southwest monsoon or habagat.

PAGASA placed Batanes, Northern Cagayan including Babuyan Group of Islands, Ilocos Norte, northern portion of Ilocos Sur, Apayao and northern portion of Abra under storm signal No. 1.

The state weather bureau noted that scattered to widespread moderate rains will prevail over Ilocos region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Zambales, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

A global weather forecasting application network monitored at least four weather systems moving towards the Philippines, suggesting that wide areas of the country will continue to experience moderate to heavy rains and thunderstorms in the next 12 hours or longer.

Windy.ty.com had monitored Inday and Josie as part of a string of weather disturbances prevailing over the country.

With Josie threatening to make landfall in Ilocos, the regional Office of Civil Defense (OCD) raised their respective disaster alert from blue to red.

In the next 12 hours, light to moderate rains and thunderstorms are expected over Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and La Union; Bataan, Zambales, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Aurora in Central Luzon; Abra, Ifugao, Apayao, Mountain Province, Kalinga and Benguet in the Cordillera region.

The towns of Lamut and Lagawe in Ifugao province were placed under state of calamity on the threat of more heavy rains coming from Josie.

The prevailing weather systems since Tuesday left several areas flooded in Northern and Central Luzon, Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog region and the Visayas, affecting 50,000 families or close to 200,000 individuals.

Some of these affected families lost their houses to flash floods and strong winds in Negros Occidental while farmers in Mindoro Occidental lost close to P6 million worth of crops to the widespread flooding that hit the province.

While flooding has receded in some areas, dozens of villages in Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and Pangasinan are still under floodwaters as of yesterday.

Several road and bridges in Northern Luzon and the Cordilleras also remain closed to traffic due to landslides and flooding. 

Big waves spawned by the southwest monsoon caused a passenger boat to capsize off Calatagan, Batangas on Friday.

Coast Guard spokesman Capt. Armand Balilo said they successfully rescued the 57 passengers and 10 crewmembers of M/V Lucky Benjamin.

The boat was sailing to Looc, Occidental Mindoro when it was hit by big waves, causing it to capsize. No fatalities were reported.

PAGASA warned residents living near river channels and slopes in mountainous areas to prepare for possible evacuation due to threat of more heavy rains brought by Josie.

Meanwhile, scattered light to moderate with occasional heavy rains are expected over Metro Manila, Calabarzon and the rest of Central Luzon.

Bicol, Mimaropa, Visayas and Mindanao will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers due to localized thunderstorms.

PAGASA also warned that sea travel is risky over the seaboards of Northern Luzon and the western seaboard of Central Luzon, particularly in areas under storm signal No. 1. – With Jaime Laude, Evelyn Macairan, Eva Visperas, Ramon Efren Lazaro, Raymund Catindig, Artemio Dumlao

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